Recapping Spring Practice Around the Big 10 - II

Six <b>Big 10</b> teams have started <b>Spring Practice</b> so far: <b>Illinois, Michigan</b>, and <b>Wisconsin</b> have been at it for a couple of weeks.<br><br> <b>Iowa</b>, and <b>Minnesota</b> have just started and <b>MSU</b> began last Saturday. <br><br> There's a lot to talk about as New Players, position changes and new offensive and defensive schemes are all in the works...

"Spring Practice Central" Recap:
Four Big 10 Teams start Spring Drills this week - Iowa and Minnesota Today [3/25] and Indiana and Penn State on Saturday [3/29]

Nothing much to report yet. Randy Walker gathers the Cats for their first workout April 1st - the second day back from Spring Break.  The NGN Auction is April 5th - Spring Game is April 26th.
And from the Rest of the Big 10

The Illini have been proccupied with their basketball team's efforts at the NCAA . While Football got started March 17th, this is Spring Break so we probably won't see anything new  until next week.
Opens spring practice on Saturday.  Hoosier Coach Gerry DiNardo hasn't had any press info released so far.
The Hawkeyes start their drills Wednesday with the news the former coach Hayden Fry has been named to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, the news out of Iowa Cityhad been sparse with lots of worry over negative recruiting and coaching changes.  The biggest challenge will be to replace the 4 O-Linemen - all of whom are NFL prospects, and QB Brad BanksNathan Chandler is the front runner for the QB job.

But opening day of practice brought a flurry of stories - for example: The Hawks expect a lot out of their walk-ons. 

And only two players will miss the spring LB George Lewis and C Brian Ferentz who are rehabing ACL injuries. There were also a couple of position changes announced: Ryan Majerus will be moving to TE, Jermire Roberts will move to OLB.
As is normal for Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr, don't expect much information to drift out of the spring drills. The Insiders Site reports that they are practicing, and a few recruiting prospects have come in to watch.

The Athletic Department announced that the day of the final practice - April 12th will be "Springfest" for the entire Athletic Dept.
Michigan State
Lots of big news out of the start of the Spring Practices last Saturday.

First off, MSU QB Jeff Smoker, who was suspended mid season last year for "substance abuse problems" will be given a chance to earn his old starting slot back by new head coach John L. Smith.

Smith's goals during the spring appear to be to change the attitude of the players in East Lansing, move the offense to a spread formation, and to teach his new 4-3-4/3-3-5 attacking defensive scheme.

Nothing really new here, except terms. Up front there's a "Stud, "  2 DTs, and a "Rush."  3 Linebackers are called Mike, Whip and Bandit. We've seen this type of defense before - it sounds different but appears to be about the same thing with the Stud playing a hybrid DE/OLB type scheme and the Bandit having a certain amount of freedom to move around.
To start off, the Gophers got under way yesterday - coming off spring break, and 4 underclassmen are MIA because they missed too many classes. A WR, Danny Upchurch, LB's Justiss Scales and Charleton Keith, and RB Gregg Pruitt were taken off the team. None of them were starters, but the Gophers are reportedly shorthanded now.

There are a bunch of new coaches: Moe Ankney is now the Assistant Head Coach,. and the new DC is Greg Hudson. One of Mason's goals is to score more TDs from outside the red zone, another is to improve the run defense [sounds familiar].

The Star Tribune poses 5 questions about the 2003 Gopher team: 1. Who are the Offensive Tackles - Rian Melander was moved from right to left  this spring, and Soph Mike Nicholson, a center, is now the right tackle. 2. Special Teams - the Gophers graduated their Kicker and Punter 3. What about the position changes Glen Mason made last December? 4. Will the 3 potential starting running backs be able to share the ball? 5. Where do the redshirts from last year fit into the Gopher team.

The Gophers only lost 4 starters to graduation, etc.  but they have to figure out how to fit Junior College transfer Paris Hamilton [6-1 190 4.37] into the mix. He transferred in in January and is already on the top of the depth chart at WR - now he has to show it on the practice field. He's already got a good friend in Minnesota - Gopher QB Asad Abdul-Khaliq.

3 More transfers add to the lineup - MLB Brian Smith [6-2 230], DT

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